'Diabetes' occurs because the body is unable to use sugar for energy due to a malfunction of the hormone insulin. This affects the metabolism of nutrients such as fats, and proteins. Furthermore, diabetes is also a leading cause of dangerous complications and can impact your quality of life. Major complications of diabetes include:
Atherosclerosis both coronary and cerebral arteries.
Diabetic kidney disease.
Peripheral neuropathy results in pain, burning, numbness and tingling in the feet or hands, loss of sensation.
Eye complications such as, cataracts, macular degeneration.
Weakened immune system that increase the risk of infection.
Prevention of diabetic complications with alpha lipoic acid.
Controlling blood sugar levels within the normal range is very important when you have diabetes. But the complications caused by diabetes are also a matter of importance. Studies have shown that although diabetic patients try to keep your blood sugar levels in the target range, more than 20% of them still experience complications. In an early stage, a degeneration of peripheral nerve endings may be found to cause pain, numbness and tingling in the feet or hands. In the next stage, diabetes neuropathy may affect the autonomic nervous system that control the heart, kidneys, and digestion tract functions. It was found that diabetic patients produce large amounts of free radicals in the body causing the faster deterioration of various organs. Preventing free radicals from further damaging cells is therefore important to help prevent or reduce the complications of diabetes. One interesting way is the use of antioxidants, especially alpha lipoic acid, that have been shown to help reduce the number of diabetic complications.
Antioxidant properties of alpha lipoic acid.
'Alpha lipoic acid' or 'lipoic acid' is also known as 'Thioctic acid' which is a substance that has the same properties as vitamins. It is considered as a universal antioxidant due to its unique properties that can be dissolved in both water (hydrophilic) and fat (lipophilic) to protect cells in the body against free radicals. It also has the ability to regenerate other antioxidants e.g. vitamin E, vitamins C coenzyme Q10 back to their active forms after removal of free radicals, to allow those antioxidants to resume their antioxidants properties.
Properties to enhance insulin sensitivity.
'Alpha lipoic Acid' enhances the action of insulin in bringing sugar into cells and metabolize sugar into energy, thereby improving blood sugar control.
With these properties, Alpha-lipoic acid is approved for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy and other common diabetes complications in Germany. It help reduce complications e.g. nerve terminal degeneration, pain, burning, numbness of the hands and feet (diabetic peripheral neuropathy) and improve patients’ quality of life.
Currently, alpha lipoic acid supplement is recommended for
People with diabetes.
People with cataract.
People who need antioxidants to slow down cell degeneration and prevent premature aging.
Use in combination with other antioxidants to boost antioxidant activity or to optimize the synergistic antioxidant effects e.g., use with vitamins E, vitamins C, coenzyme Q10.
Food sources of alpha lipoic acid, are mainly found in red meat, organ meats like liver and heart, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, potatoes, etc. Obtaining from dietary supplements is another popular option.
Diabetes patients without complication, take 300 milligrams per day once daily with meal.
Diabetes patients with complication e.g. pain, burning, numbness at the tip of hands and feet, take 600 milligrams per day once daily with meal.
People who want to supplement to prevent diseases arisen from various deterioration of the body, take 50 milligrams per day once daily with meal.
Examples of studies on the benefits of alpha lipoic acid,
Ziegler et al, 2006 studied the effect of alpha lipoic acid, in 181 diabetic patients, taken 600 mg orally once a day for 5 weeks. Alpha lipoic acid was found to significantly reduce symptoms of peripheral neuropathy including, pain, burning pain, and numbness in diabetic patients compared to placebo.
JR Hahm et al, 2004 studied the effect of alpha lipoic acid, in 61 diabetic patients, taken 600 mg orally once a day for 8 weeks evaluated at 4 and 8 weeks, respectively. It was found that at 4 weeks, alpha lipoic acid was able to significantly reduce symptoms of peripheral neuropathy including, pain, burning pain, and numbness in diabetic patients compared to placebo. And at 8 weeks, the symptoms were noticeably improved.
Ruhnau KJ et al, 1999 studied the effect of alpha lipoic acid, in 12 diabetic patients, taking 600 mg orally three times a day for 3 weeks. Alpha lipoic acid was found to significantly reduce symptoms of peripheral neuropathy including, pain, burning pain, and numbness in diabetic patients compared to placebo.
Ziegler et al, 1995 studied the effect of alpha lipoic acid, in 328 diabetic patients, with IV injections of 100 mg daily, 600 mg, 1,200 mg, and placebo for 3 weeks. It was found that those who received a dose of 600 mg had the greatest pain and numbness improvement by 82.5% compared to other doses.